I’m weird and prefer my blacks steeped at a lower temperature, for a longer time. Partly because I’m too impatient to wait for my cup to cool enough for me to drink, but also because a lower temperature lets me make a stronger cup with less astringency.
I will admit, I’m not usually one to reach for a straight Assam. I prefer Ceylon, so if I’m wanting a single-source I usually grab a Ceylon, but honestly, most of my straight blacks are blends (Irish Breakfast generally, which is funny since it’s largely an Assam blend, yet I never reach for a straight Assam!) or Lapsang Souchongs.
I got a sample of this from OMGsrsly back when we had our Victoria swap and tea crawl. I’ve been terrible at not going through all my goodies, partly due to not having the best access to my collection/kettle due to renos on the house (specifically my room/the stairs next to my door, blocking my only path into my room), so I’m finally catching up, bit by bit.
The leaf smells a bit malty, and somewhat stronger than the steeped liquor. The liquor is a really lovely deep red, richer in colour than my usual go-to Ceylon from Silk Road. But the liquor itself is actually quite mild. The richness is more of an aftertaste vs a kick in the teeth, which while extremely pleasant, is VERY different than my usual black picks.
I was expecting a bit more “oomph”, going by the scent of the leaf and the colour of the liquor, but I’m pleasantly surprised! It’s extremely smooth, despite the longish steep, rich, comforting, but not so bold that it leaves your mouth feeling dry.
I’ve been munching on banana chips while typing this, and the combination of flavours makes me feel like I’m eating banana bread! So decadent!
I think that after this, I’m going to need to give Assams more of a chance, and let my Ceylon addiction simmer down a bit. This turned out to be nothing like what I was expecting, and I’m pretty darn happy!